Watch An Otherworldly Looking Turtle Hunt A Goldfish

Written by Kirstin Opal
Published: November 23, 2022
© Sista Vongjintanaruks/Shutterstock.com
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Although most turtles look ancient, the animal you’re about to see looks like it’s straight out of Jurassic Park! Let us introduce you to the alligator snapping turtle. Because of their spiky shells and ape-like appearance, alligator snapping turtles are often compared to dinosaurs. 

From head to tail, their shells have three ridges with sharp points. This particular snapping turtle has eyes on the sides of its head, unlike all other varieties. While it’s difficult to tell what type of turtle is in the video linked below, the alligator snapping species looks the closest. 

By pressing play on the video, you’ll watch one of these prehistoric creatures clamp down on a fresh goldfish dinner. The entire interaction takes place in a small tank, where the goldfish has no chance to escape. Even if it did, the turtle is so sneaky, the fish doesn’t even know what happens until it’s too late. 

Due to habitat destruction and overexploitation of their flesh, alligator snapping turtle populations are in decline. Despite the fact that they are not an endangered species, certain states have put restrictions on taking them from the wild. 

Contrary to several urban legends, alligator snapping turtles don’t typically attack humans. However, their formidable jaws can shatter through bone with a bite force of 1,000 pounds, thus they must never be touched in the wild. 

Alligator Snapping Turtle Facts

Male alligator snapping turtles can weigh up to 200 pounds and have a carapace length of up to 31 inches, despite the fact that the animal in the video is relatively small. Since they spend so much of their time in the water, alligator snapping turtles are primarily aquatic animals. 

Before they need to emerge for air, they may stay underwater for 40 to 50 minutes. The majority of alligator snapping turtles’ diets consist of meat. In addition to eating fish and other water creatures, they have also been observed to consume some plants and small mammals. 

Close-up shot of an alligator snapping turtle’s face.

©iStock.com/Jacob Stock

These turtles will scrounge or forage for food at night when they are most active. These ambush predators remain still in the water while hunting and expose the worm-like attachment on their tongues to entice unaware victims.

Goldfish will swell their guts with water when they see danger. Even though this turtle is moving slowly, the fish is unaware of his presence. Sharp spikes that coat goldfish’s bodies are exposed as a result. They become less appealing to catch as a result of predators. Tetrodotoxins, which are extremely dangerous compounds, are found in their skin and several of their internal organs.

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The Featured Image

What Do Snapping Turtles Eat
An Alligator snapping turtle on the road. Alligator snapping turtles sometimes prey on smaller snapping turtles.
© Sista Vongjintanaruks/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs, her 14-year-old dog, or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

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